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Primary Schools

Mr. Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills if she will investigate the effects on primary schools league tables resulting from children who have been registered for year 6 SATS being subsequently unable to sit them through (a) illness and (b) unauthorised absence. [65204]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 24 May 2002, Official report, column 662W.

Nationally, in 2001, the percentage of pupils absent from the Key Stage 2 tests for each subject was:


School Visits

Mr. Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) if she will list the schools she has visited since she became Secretary of State; [65086]

Mr. Willis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills which secondary comprehensive schools she has visited since 1997; and which were unsatisfactory. [65399]

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Mr. Miliband [holding answer 1 July 2002]: My right hon. Friend has visited 33 schools in England since becoming Secretary of State last year. These schools are as listed. She also visited many schools in her previous ministerial posts between 1997 and 2001. Two of the schools she has visited as Secretary of State were designated by Ofsted as requiring special measures because they were failing to provide pupils with an acceptable standard of education. Just under 300 schools in England—less than 1.3 per cent. of the total—are currently designated by Ofsted as requiring special measures. A further 2.4 per cent. of schools are designated by Ofsted as having serious weaknesses.



Extended School Programme

Mr. Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills what progress has been made with her Department's extended school programme. [66166]

Mr. Stephen Twigg: We are encouraging all schools to extend the services they offer for the benefit of pupils, their families and the wider community. The Education

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Bill, currently before Parliament, will establish a clear legal framework for schools wanting to provide extended services. We intend to publish guidance later this year to help schools and their partners develop this approach. We also intend to support a number of pathfinder projects to demonstrate a range of patterns in different settings. We will evaluate these projects and disseminate good practice.

Overseas Trained Teachers

Mr. Drew: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) what investigation she carries out into those agencies which are supplying overseas trained teachers for employment in British schools; [66629]

Mr. Miliband: Employment agencies in Great Britain are regulated under the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and associated regulations, which are the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry. The DTI Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate enforces the legislation and investigates complaints about the conduct of agencies.

Induction arrangements for new teachers are the responsibility of the recruiting school or local education authority. Many provide such training and support networks. Those in London will, in future, be further supported by the new Recruitment and Retention Unit in the Government office for London.

In order to teach in a maintained school in England it is generally necessary to hold Qualified Teacher Status (QTS). Current regulations do not allow for the automatic recognition of teaching qualifications gained abroad, unless the teacher is a national of a member state of the European Economic Area (EEA). The Education (Teachers) Qualifications and Health Standards Regulations 1999 (as amended) allow schools to appoint overseas trained teachers without QTS in three circumstances: as trainees on an employment based route; as a temporary teacher in a school or a number of schools for up to four years without QTS; as 'instructors'—persons offering particular skills who may be appointed when no qualified teacher with such skills is available.

The information about costs is not collected centrally.


Competitive Tendering

Mr. Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on how many occasions in the last 12 months the requirement to engage in a competitive tendering process

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has been waived by his Department due to national security obligations under paragraph 6(h) of the supply regulations. [62821]

Jane Kennedy: None.

North Belfast

Mr. Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many juveniles have been prosecuted since 1 July 2001 arising out of disturbances in North Belfast. [62643]

Jane Kennedy: The information requested is not available at this time due to a database upgrading exercise being undertaken which should be concluded by late summer 2002.

Regulatory Impact Unit

Dr. Cable: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many members of his Department have been employed in its regulatory impact unit in the past five years; and if he will make a statement. [65973]

Jane Kennedy: None.

Organised Crime Task Force

David Taylor: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will make a statement on the Organised Crime Task Force's second annual threat assessment. [65737]

Jane Kennedy: I congratulate the Organised Crime Task Force, on their first year's work. Much has been achieved—the figures in the second annual threat assessment and strategy documents speak for themselves—but we are under no illusions that there is much more to be done. Fighting organised crime will be a long and hard struggle. This year, as it was last year, the priority areas for concerted multi-agency effort are extortion, drugs, oils-related fraud, tobacco and alcohol duty evasion and money laundering. In addition, we have added two new strategic priority areas: the trade in counterfeit goods, as this has an on-going potential to affect investment in Northern Ireland; and armed robbery, which is on the increase here, while declining elsewhere in the United Kingdom.

No one should doubt that we have the resources and determination to pursue it to the utmost. The publication of the threat assessment and strategy for dealing with organised crime in Northern Ireland, shows that the agencies involved have made an impressive start.

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